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Flying Shin overcomes post-race penalty to win in New Zealand

A flying Michael Shin put new rubber to good effect in the second race at the Euromarque Motorsport Park, Christchurch today, winning the second race of the weekend in style in the 2024 Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship.

Gerrard Xie came home a comfortable second while Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth won a dogfight with Roman Bilinski to take third place.

It was a fortunate choice of tyres for Shin, as a post-race penalty of 10 seconds reduced his winning margin from 12 seconds to just two seconds.

“I didn’t expect Robert to be there but if feels really good to win my first race,” he said. “To me it was just a racing incident, it is quite bumpy and difficult there and we came together.”

The grid was formed on a reverse of the top eight finishers from Saturday and that put Shin on pole position and Woods-Toth for Kiwi Motorsport alongside him. China’s Xie and Kiwi Alex Crosbie filled the second row behind them while championship contenders Bilinski and Liam Sceats would start seventh and eighth.

With Kaden Probst not starting, but Sebastian Manson making his race debut following completion of his Formula Ford Championship duties, the grid remained at 15 cars for the start.

As the lights went out it was Woods-Toth who got ahead initially but Shin sat alongside and as they exited the first corner there was brief contact and Patrick was forced wide into the dust. Shin immediately took a lead of a few car lengths ahead of Xie while Patrick got his car back on track in third.

A busy first lap also saw Lucas Fecury spin and recover but at the end of it – the order was Shin, Xie, Woods-Toth, a fast-starting Kaleb Ngatoa, Crosbie, then a flying Bilinski who had put Jacob Abel between himself and Liam Sceats in eighth. Jett Bowling had started well in ninth as had Landan Matriano in tenth.

All eyes were on Bilinski as he tried to fight his way to the front. He passed Crosbie for fifth on lap four with a confident late braking masterclass and then set off after Ngatoa. Another textbook move saw him pass the Kiwi on lap six and he then refocused his sights on Woods-Toth and a place on the podium.

Out front Shin also had the hammer down – perhaps aware of the startling progress the championship leader was making and by lap five had built a decent lead of over three seconds. It was a handy lead too, as Xie, Woods-Toth, Bilinski, Ngatoa and Crosbie were all nose to tail in their battle behind.

That allowed Michael to continue to build his lead in his M2 Competition entry – the Korean clearly making the most of the new set of tyres he had opted to use in this race rather than the day’s later feature. By lap ten he was six seconds ahead. He continued to push, also aware that there would be a post-race investigation into the clash with Woods-Toth at the start.

Woods-Toth himself was still in the thick of the action despite his earlier trip across the dirt, and was doing well to hold off Bilinski. Roman looked down Patrick’s inside line several times, and for several corners on lap 11 they were side by side. Bilinski, mindful of not taking too many risks with the championship in sight, backed out and allowed Patrick a few car lengths grace as he figured out his next move.

At the front Shin kept the pressure on throughout, lapping close to the championship record as he continued to try and build as big a lead as possible. Behind him, Xie was a lonely second but very conscious of the pressure Bilinski was again piling on Woods-Toth in the closing laps and that dogfight brought the third and fourth placed drivers closer. Woods-Toth, however, refused to give an inch and with one lap to go Bilinski eased off, content to keep station behind the top three and take the points.

Shin duly crossed the line to take the flag by 12 seconds – which was enough to counter a post-race penalty awarded later by the Stewards. He finished ahead of Xie and Woods-Toth. Bilinski moved further ahead of Liam Sceats in the chase for the championship with fourth. Kaleb Ngatoa was top Kiwi in fifth ahead of Crosbie, Abel, Sceats, Bowling and Bryce Aron.

Further back debutant Sebastian Manson was going well in his first race in the category and had made his way to 12thafter 13 laps of the 20-lap race in his Giles Motorsport entry. He brought his car home 11th on debut, a solid performance.

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